We went over to Palm Harbor for dinner tonight at the New England’s Ale House Grille. We almost didn’t even bother going in since their main parking is by valet. I’m just one of those people who doesn’t like handing my keys over to a stranger. We did manage to grab the last spot in the lot next door and walk over. They didn’t have any seating available inside, so we found a table out on the porch, where unfortunately they allow smoking. The first thing Loren noticed was that the main board on the railing around the porch in front of us was warped. He looked at me and said, “Wouldn’t you have just spent the extra money to replace it with a straight board?”. I only mention this because that lack of detail was evident in our entire experience here.
We ordered a bowl of clam chowder to split between us.
Our waitress brought out 1 spoon and then asked us if we wanted another one. Umm, yeah. I can only assume that she had to walk to the furthest part of the kitchen and wash the spoon herself given how long it took her to bring one back to the table. It became very apparent throughout the meal that she hasn’t been a waitress for long. As for the chowder, it was underseasoned and the potatoes were unevenly cooked. It didn’t have a lot of clams in it and the ones that were in it were on the chewy side. It was very creamy, but one note. The only saving grace was the little bit of bacon on top. Next up were the salads.
It was a mixed green salad, which I’m not fond of. I’m an iceberg lettuce kind of gal. Loren likes the greens; I think they’re just yard weeds. At this point, the waiting began for our entree. Loren asked for some more ice for his tea and again, I can only assume that the waitress had to go to the far corner of the restaurant to get it. I also observed the other tables around us with empty glasses. One guy had asked the waitress for ketchup, but eventually gave up and asked another table if he could borrow theirs. About 5 minutes later the waitress showed up with the ketchup.
Then our entrees finally arrived. Loren ordered the crab cakes with brussel sprouts and mac & cheese.
He said the crab cakes were ok, but again like everything else, lacked seasoning. The brussel sprouts were unevenly cooked so only half were edible. The mac & cheese was pretty good. I ordered the whole belly clams with red potatoes and mac & cheese.
As you can see from the photo, there are brussel sprouts on my plate. I informed the lady that brought our food that I had not ordered brussel sprouts. She went back to the kitchen and I never saw her again. Our waitress came to the table and I told her that I ordered red potatoes and she went back to the kitchen. Eventually, she came back out and apologized and said it was her fault, and would I like to have the potatoes? Seriously? All this time and you still haven’t brought me my potatoes?? I told her yes and about half way through the meal, I finally got the unevenly cooked red potatoes.
Now, as for my clams… sigh, they were not properly prepared and were watery. Definitely needed seasoning as much as everything else on the plate. There was also one big chunk of smooshed together clams that I just left on the plate. The menu also said there should be dinner rolls, but that never happened either. At this point, we just wanted to get out of there. Now, here’s the kicker. This was an overpriced $61 meal and they charged me 25 cents for water! Now the bill said “water with lemon”, which I didn’t specifically ask for lemon because I just remove it anyway, but I have never in my life been charged for water. I will be surprised if this place survives. Everything from the poor service to the unevenly, under-seasoned food to the fact that they are so cheap as to charge for water solidified the fact that we’ll never be back.
New England’s Ale House Grille
3419 US 19 Alternate
Palm Harbor, FL
We ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse tonight after we couldn’t find parking at the restaurant we had planned to go to. I was shocked that we didn’t have to wait for a table at 6pm on a Friday night. Of all the chain restaurants, I think Longhorn has become our favorite. The food is consistent and the flavors are there. We started off with one of their new appetizers, the sweet chili calamari.
This was some perfectly cooked calamari. I couldn’t stop eating it even though the sweet chili sauce had my tongue tingling. I would definitely order it again. After bread and salads, out came out entrees. Loren got the 6 oz Renegade sirloin with asparagus.
He said the steak was very tender and tasty. Unfortunately, the asparagus was a little too far on the tender side. He likes his asparagus much crisper. I ordered the half rack of baby back ribs.
They were very tender with a slightly sweet sauce. I really enjoyed them. And even though we were both stuffed at this point, I just couldn’t pass up the dessert sampler.
This is the dessert to get here. Chocolate stampede, caramel apple goldrush, and strawberry cheesecake. Yum! I devoured the chocolate stampede. It’s layers of chocolate mousse on a chocolate cake. So good! Loren favored the caramel apple dish and the cheesecake was pretty darn tasty as well. We had to roll ourselves out of the restaurant. Total bill with a drink was $55 and worth every penny.
35645 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
We ate here once before when it was called Koba Sushi. Now, it’s called Faceless Samurai, but it looks exactly the same inside. It’s not a very big restaurant and we were there way longer than it should have taken to get four rolls. The first thing we noticed were the children, of I’m guessing someone who works there, playing loudly at the table next to us. Not exactly the way we wanted to spend our quiet night out.
We ordered four rolls which came out one at a time with way too much time between them. The problem is that we order rolls specifically for ourselves and there are some I don’t eat and some that Loren doesn’t really like, so the way the sushi came out, one of us inevitably was waiting to eat while the other one was eating. We also don’t like having to eat one entire roll at a time, we much prefer to mix and match pieces throughout the meal.
The sushi was just ok. Nothing out of the ordinary, good or bad. We got a Mexican roll, a California Roll, a Spicy Tuna, and a Rainbow Roll. We also ordered some salmon, but we never got it. Loren also ordered a drink and had to ask again for the waitress to actually bring it out. She seemed friendly, but was completely scattered and not paying attention to anything that was going on. Total bill was $50 and there’s no reason for us to go back.
3428 Tampa Rd
Palm Harbor, FL
It’s been a while since we’ve been to the East Lake Cafe and unfortunately, this visit didn’t change our minds as to why. I used to really like this restaurant, but the last few times I’ve been here, both the food and service left much to be desired. Loren decided to try their International Salad.
First off, he misread the menu and thought it had bacon, but that was the least of the issues with this dish. The avocado was under ripe and rock hard and had to ask the waitress to bring him some he could actually eat. They also don’t dress this salad with anything other than a light sprinkle of oil. He asked for some balsamic dressing just to get over the dryness of the salad. Though the individual components of the salad were good on their own; together, they just weren’t cohesive. It had hummus, ricotta cheese, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and pita bread.
I ordered the onion & mushroom burger with American cheese instead of the Swiss it came with.
It was under done for a medium burger and lacked any seasoning whatsoever. Just a really dull burger. The waffle fries were good though. Total bill with a drink was $25 and I doubt we’ll even bother to try again.
3430 Eastlake Rd
Palm Harbor, FL
After going to a movie this morning, we were looking for a quick lunch and found it at Sweet Caroline’s. I thought I remembered a cafe there the last time we grabbed a dessert and sure enough, they had a selection of soups and sandwiches available. Loren went for the turkey BLT croissant with a cup of creamy roasted asparagus soup.
The soup was a little thin, but he said it had a really good flavor. He also enjoyed the crunchy bacon and the sandwich as a whole. The cole slaw had a pineapple taste to it. I ordered the chicken salad croissant with a side of the sweet corn chowder.
This is the way I like my chicken salad. It had grapes and other sweet things in it and the crossiant was fresh and tasty. The chowder was also on the thin side and needed some salt, but otherwise pretty tasty. It just wouldn’t be right to leave this place without grabbing a dessert.
Loren went for the chocolate ginger cookie, but don’t be fooled, he had quite a few bites of my French eclair. From the moment I walked in, I knew I was getting it for dessert. A layer of pudding, a layer of whipped cream all tucked into a pastry shell and topped with dark chocolate. Yum! Total bill with two drinks was $29.
3347 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL